Tuesday, 26 June 2012

The Best of #EdBookFest | Part II

Last Thursday, the programme for this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival was made available. From the 11th of August - that's a Saturday - through Monday the 27th, almost a million authors are set to appear at various venues around Scotland's prettiest city... or at least, so it seems.

As a matter of fact a million might be overstating the case somewhat, but there are so many events on the slate that a comprehensive read of the catalogue could take as long as the festival itself, and by then, everything of interest is sure to be fully booked. If you're planning to attend, specifically to see a certain someone speak, then in my experience you've got to be on the ball when it comes to ordering.

So how about some help figuring out your potential schedule before tickets go on sale at 8:30AM this Friday? Really, it's the least I can do. :)

To save you some time and effort, then, I've taken a good, long look through the 2012 programme for writers and artists that the likes of us - which is to say fans of speculative fiction - are apt to find fascinating. Even then there's such a surplus of good stuff that this it's going to take us a couple of days to get through just the genre-related authors, so here's a link to yesterday's inaugural installment  of The Best of #EdBookFest. And remember to tune in again tomorrow for the catastrophic conclusion!


Who: Grant Morrison

When: Friday 17 August, 9:30PM - 10:30PM

Where: RBS Main Theatre

Leading Scottish comic book writer Grant Morrison divides his time between Scotland and Hollywood, and he joins us this evening to talk about the comics industry as it squares up to the game-changing developments of the 21st century. Following up the arguments in his brilliant book Supergods, Morrison contends that superheroes are powerful icons for a multimedia age. 

Who: Garth Nix

When: Saturday 18 August, 10:30AM - 11:30AM 

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

The hugely successful, award-winning writer Garth Nix travels to Edinburgh from Australia to draw you into his world of fantasy and science fiction. His many books are popular worldwide and include the Sabriel trilogy, The Keys to the Kingdom series and his latest novel, A Confusion of Princes. Find out what it takes to make a fantasy novel really work - or not! - and pick up some expert tips on how to write a compelling book of your own.

Who: Hari Kunzru and Yiyun Li

When: Saturday 18 August, 12:30PM - 1:30PM

Where: Peppers Theatre

Douglas Coupland’s recent review of Hari Kunzru’s novel Gods Without Men suggests Kunzru has spawned a new literary genre: Translit. It’s certainly a sparkling, multi-layered gem that confidently slides across boundaries. But then so too does US-based Yiyun Li’s superb book of short stories Gold Boy, Emerald Girl which is predominantly set in modern China. Whether or not they’re creating a new genre, here are two writers whose writing is a joy to behold. 

Who: Jennifer Rohn and Neal Stephenson

When: Saturday 18 August, 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

Science fiction writing is readily dismissed as mindless escapism but in fact it is a hugely influential and creative genre, able to critique our society and inspire our scientists. New York Times bestseller, Neal Stephenson, discusses the importance of science fiction on science fact with Jennifer Rohn of University College London and author of lablit.com.

Who: Helen Dunmore

When: Monday 20 August, 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

She won the Orange Prize for her novel A Spell of Winter, and was Man Booker longlisted for The Betrayal. Now, this most versatile of writers has produced a deliciously chilling novella set in East Yorkshire. The Greatcoat tells the story of a woman who discovers an RAF officer's coat in her new flat. Later, in her dreams, she hears a knocking on the window...

Who: Margo Lanagan and Melvin Burgess

When: Monday 20 August, 6:30PM - 7:30PM

Where: RBS Imagination Lab

What: Meet two of the most controversial authors writing for young adults today. Melvin Burgess and Margo Lanagan have both been criticised for the explicit nature of some of their work, in particular Doing It by Melvin and Tender Morsels by Margo, novels that reflect elements of life all too familiar to today’s teenagers. Come and hear them talk about everything from sex to drugs, mythology to fairy tales and let them demonstrate how a skilful writer can sensitively lead their reader down any path to explore difficult subjects.

Who: China Mieville and Patrick Ness

When: Monday 20 August, 8:30PM - 9:30PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

China Miéville is often billed as a genre-busting science fiction writer but in truth he’s impossible to categorise. With Railsea, Miéville has imagined a post-industrial landscape of small islands, where the sea is not water but a mass of criss-crossing rails. The story takes a young islander across the railsea, and Miéville has created his most enticing and compelling novel to date. Chaired by Patrick Ness.

Who: Shaun Tan

When: Wednesday 22 August, 5:00PM - 6:00PM

Where: ScottishPower Studio Theatre

Shaun Tan offers a fascinating journey through his work as author, artist and film-maker, explaining how his early career developed. In 2011 Shaun received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Sweden for his body of work and won an Oscar for his short film The Lost Thing. This is a rare opportunity to hear from an inspiring and uniquely talented master in his field.


With which, the second part of The Best of #EdBookFest comes to a close.

I'll have one last round of must-see authors and artists for you all tomorrow, but in the interim, any ideas yet which events you'll be attending? China Mieville's 'Going Off The Rails' is a gimme for me...

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